2017-03-30 / Front Page

Robots Ready - Let the Games Begin

Local School Robotics Teams Put Their Skills to the Test in First Round of Competition
By Kevin R. Hess


The St. Ignace SHIELD competed in their first robotics competition of the season in Escanaba, Thursday, March 16 to Saturday, March 18. They qualified 18th out of 39 teams, finishing with a record of 6-6 in their 12 matches. Although they did not qualify for the playoffs, coach Merlin Doran said, “We know what we need to do to be better prepared next time.” The team is pictured here in their pit. Team members include: (back row, from left) mentor Brian Thomas, Luke Valletta, mentors Ben Doran and Paul Matelski, Joel Dodds, Alicia Garen, Casey Brake, Coach Merlin Doran; (middle) mentor George Garen, Robert Matelski, Karlie St. Andrew, Sarah Doran, Tori Geldner, Lily Hart; (front) Andrea Kinjorski, Lily Colegrove, Briana McGill, Morgan Thomas, and Delayne Bassett. (Photograph provided by Merlin Doran) The St. Ignace SHIELD competed in their first robotics competition of the season in Escanaba, Thursday, March 16 to Saturday, March 18. They qualified 18th out of 39 teams, finishing with a record of 6-6 in their 12 matches. Although they did not qualify for the playoffs, coach Merlin Doran said, “We know what we need to do to be better prepared next time.” The team is pictured here in their pit. Team members include: (back row, from left) mentor Brian Thomas, Luke Valletta, mentors Ben Doran and Paul Matelski, Joel Dodds, Alicia Garen, Casey Brake, Coach Merlin Doran; (middle) mentor George Garen, Robert Matelski, Karlie St. Andrew, Sarah Doran, Tori Geldner, Lily Hart; (front) Andrea Kinjorski, Lily Colegrove, Briana McGill, Morgan Thomas, and Delayne Bassett. (Photograph provided by Merlin Doran) Area schools competed in this year’s first robotics competitions March 16 to 18 in Escanaba and Gaylord. Each team competed in 12 matches and was ranked based on their scoring in those matches. The top scoring teams automatically qualify for the playoff round and are seeded based on ranking. Teams who didn’t automatically qualify for the playoffs may be picked by those who did, to be part of their three-team alliance.


Rudyard junior Rebecca Mc- Clellan shows off the team’s currency, which they call Robobucks. The team uses Robobucks to motivate members, reward safety, and track individual contributions to team goals. Team members can then cash in their Robobucks for rewards. Rebecca serves as the Nerf Herders Chief Design Officer. The uniqueness of their Robobucks earned them a Judges’ Award at the FIRST Robotics competition in Gaylord, March 16 to March 18. Rudyard will compete next at Lake Superior State University, Thursday, March 30, to Saturday, April 1. (Rudyard photographs courtesy of Isiah Otten) Rudyard junior Rebecca Mc- Clellan shows off the team’s currency, which they call Robobucks. The team uses Robobucks to motivate members, reward safety, and track individual contributions to team goals. Team members can then cash in their Robobucks for rewards. Rebecca serves as the Nerf Herders Chief Design Officer. The uniqueness of their Robobucks earned them a Judges’ Award at the FIRST Robotics competition in Gaylord, March 16 to March 18. Rudyard will compete next at Lake Superior State University, Thursday, March 30, to Saturday, April 1. (Rudyard photographs courtesy of Isiah Otten) The Mackinac Island Great Lakers competed at Escanaba and finished 26th out of 39 teams, finishing with a record of 4 wins, 6 losses, and 2 ties. They were chosen for the eighth-seed playoff alliance, but were defeated in the quarterfinals to the first-seed and eventual district champions.


DeTour Raiders Robotics traveled to Escanaba for their first robotics competition of the 2017 season Thursday, March 16, to Saturday, March 18. They qualified ninth out of 39 teams and advanced to the playoffs, where damages contributed to a loss in the semifinals. Here, team members Cameron Livingston (pushing robot) and Jordan Bailey (standing) place their robot into starting position. DeTour will compete next in Marysville April 6 to April 8. (Photograph provided by DeTour Schools) DeTour Raiders Robotics traveled to Escanaba for their first robotics competition of the 2017 season Thursday, March 16, to Saturday, March 18. They qualified ninth out of 39 teams and advanced to the playoffs, where damages contributed to a loss in the semifinals. Here, team members Cameron Livingston (pushing robot) and Jordan Bailey (standing) place their robot into starting position. DeTour will compete next in Marysville April 6 to April 8. (Photograph provided by DeTour Schools) DeTour’s Raider Robotics team also competed at Escanaba and qualified in ninth place, winning eight of 12 matches. They were the alliance captain for the sixth-seeded alliance. DeTour made it to the semifinals, and are now ranked 98th in the state. Throughout competition, teams are allowed to adjust programming and repair any damage to their robots. In their final match, one of the robot’s bumpers came off after a hard hit with an opponent.


This year’s robotics game is FIRST Steamworks, which requires teams to transport fuel (represented by plastic balls) into boilers and gears to a launching pad. Teams must choose specific team members who will operate the robot on the playing field. Here, Mackinac Island’s Christian Styburski (left, back), Nick Davis (left front), and Alex Henlin (right, on the platform) plan for the competition. The Great Lakers finished 26 out of 39 teams in Escanaba. (Photograph provided by Mackinac Island Public School) This year’s robotics game is FIRST Steamworks, which requires teams to transport fuel (represented by plastic balls) into boilers and gears to a launching pad. Teams must choose specific team members who will operate the robot on the playing field. Here, Mackinac Island’s Christian Styburski (left, back), Nick Davis (left front), and Alex Henlin (right, on the platform) plan for the competition. The Great Lakers finished 26 out of 39 teams in Escanaba. (Photograph provided by Mackinac Island Public School) “In the end, the time between matches was so quick, there was not enough time to repair it (properly),” said Angela Reed, coach of Raider Robotics.


The Deceivers, from Brimley High School, qualified seventh of 39 teams at the FIRST robotics competition in Escanaba March 16 to March 18. They qualified for the playoffs, losing in the quarterfinal round. The team is pictured here with this year’s robot. Team members are: (back, from left) Renee Pomeroy, Xuanfeng Ruan, Derek Postma, Cole Brehm, Trevor Moran, Heather Gordier; (middle) Jaymie Cameron, Mikayla Kime, Jonathan, Clor, Jenna Cameron, Kadin Goetz, Noah Teeple, and (front) Philip Brown. The Deceivers will compete at Lake Superior State University from March 30 to April 1. (Photograph provided by Coach Vicki Pomeroy) The Deceivers, from Brimley High School, qualified seventh of 39 teams at the FIRST robotics competition in Escanaba March 16 to March 18. They qualified for the playoffs, losing in the quarterfinal round. The team is pictured here with this year’s robot. Team members are: (back, from left) Renee Pomeroy, Xuanfeng Ruan, Derek Postma, Cole Brehm, Trevor Moran, Heather Gordier; (middle) Jaymie Cameron, Mikayla Kime, Jonathan, Clor, Jenna Cameron, Kadin Goetz, Noah Teeple, and (front) Philip Brown. The Deceivers will compete at Lake Superior State University from March 30 to April 1. (Photograph provided by Coach Vicki Pomeroy) The St. Ignace SHIELD competed in Escanaba and finished 18th out of 39 teams. They started slowly in their first several matches, but performed well in the end. They finished the weekend 6-6 in their 12 matches. They were not chosen to join an alliance for the playoffs, but coach Merlin Doran was pleased with how the team worked together.


One of the tasks that robotics teams competing in the FIRST Steamworks game are given, is to attach their robot to a pulley that will then raise it to the gear platform on the playing field. Here, Rudyard’s robot has successfully attached and was raised to the platform. The Nerf Herders qualified for the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round of the Gaylord competition held March 16 to 18. One of the tasks that robotics teams competing in the FIRST Steamworks game are given, is to attach their robot to a pulley that will then raise it to the gear platform on the playing field. Here, Rudyard’s robot has successfully attached and was raised to the platform. The Nerf Herders qualified for the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round of the Gaylord competition held March 16 to 18. “The kids did a great job and worked hard to repair the robot between matches,” he said. “We didn’t start the way we were hoping, but we performed well at the end. We know what we need to do to be ready for the next competition.”

The Cedarville Yooper Troopers competed at Escanaba and qualified 37th out of 39 teams, with a record of 3-9. They were chosen to be part of a playoff alliance, but lost in their quarterfinal match.


Above: Rudyard’s robotics team, the Nerf Herders, boasts 30 members. They are pictured here with this year’s robot. Team members include: (back row, from left) Destiny Marra, Carlos Staten, Joshua Schrovenwever; (second row) Nick Zeeryp, Jesse Carter-Powell, Max Zeeryp, Jeremy Povey, A.J. Ellison, Andrew Folkersma, Coach Isiah Otten, Ryan Brown; (third row) mentor Gerald Ross, Katrina Folkersma, Jayden Cozort, Shawna Weaver, Nina Hough, Aaron Mills, Andy Garrison; (fourth row) mentor Amanda Ross, Novi Price, Sam Hall- Leonhardt, Elizabeth King, Autumn Beaudoin, James Emrich, (front row) Nathaniel Ross, Aubra Ross, Kaitlyn Folkersma, Rebecca Brood, Hannah Brood, Sophia Kowalski, Rebecca Mc- Clellan, John Folkersma, and Sean Staricha. (Photograph courtesy of Isiah Otten) Above: Rudyard’s robotics team, the Nerf Herders, boasts 30 members. They are pictured here with this year’s robot. Team members include: (back row, from left) Destiny Marra, Carlos Staten, Joshua Schrovenwever; (second row) Nick Zeeryp, Jesse Carter-Powell, Max Zeeryp, Jeremy Povey, A.J. Ellison, Andrew Folkersma, Coach Isiah Otten, Ryan Brown; (third row) mentor Gerald Ross, Katrina Folkersma, Jayden Cozort, Shawna Weaver, Nina Hough, Aaron Mills, Andy Garrison; (fourth row) mentor Amanda Ross, Novi Price, Sam Hall- Leonhardt, Elizabeth King, Autumn Beaudoin, James Emrich, (front row) Nathaniel Ross, Aubra Ross, Kaitlyn Folkersma, Rebecca Brood, Hannah Brood, Sophia Kowalski, Rebecca Mc- Clellan, John Folkersma, and Sean Staricha. (Photograph courtesy of Isiah Otten) The Pickford Robo-Panthers finished 19th at the Escanaba event, going 6-6 in their 12 matches. They did not make the playoff round.


The Pickford Robo Panthers competed in Escanaba March 16 to March 18, qualifing 19th out of 39 teams and narrowly missing entering the finals. This year’s game is called FIRST Steamworks. It involves delivering fuel (represented by plastic balls) to boilers, gears to a platform, and climbing a rope to the platform. Points are awarded for the different tasks that are accomplished. Pickford entered the competition with a strategy to deliver gears for the rotors and to climb the rope. “Unfortunately, the backdrive on our ratchet failed at the last second and (the robot) crashed to the ground,” said lead mentor Eric Kleymeer. For the Lake Superior State University event, the team is contemplating a revision of the climbing mechanism and a more efficient gear collection device. Here, (from left) Anthony Streichert, Coach Eric Kleymeer, Josie Kibble, Allison Orr, and John LaJoie discuss their strategy in the pit before their next match. (Photograph provided by Pickford Schools) The Pickford Robo Panthers competed in Escanaba March 16 to March 18, qualifing 19th out of 39 teams and narrowly missing entering the finals. This year’s game is called FIRST Steamworks. It involves delivering fuel (represented by plastic balls) to boilers, gears to a platform, and climbing a rope to the platform. Points are awarded for the different tasks that are accomplished. Pickford entered the competition with a strategy to deliver gears for the rotors and to climb the rope. “Unfortunately, the backdrive on our ratchet failed at the last second and (the robot) crashed to the ground,” said lead mentor Eric Kleymeer. For the Lake Superior State University event, the team is contemplating a revision of the climbing mechanism and a more efficient gear collection device. Here, (from left) Anthony Streichert, Coach Eric Kleymeer, Josie Kibble, Allison Orr, and John LaJoie discuss their strategy in the pit before their next match. (Photograph provided by Pickford Schools) The Deceivers of Brimley qualified seventh in Escanaba, finishing with an 8-3-1 record. They competed in the playoffs, choosing Cedarville and Sault Ste. Marie as their other alliance members. They lost in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.


At left: DeTour Raiders Robotics qualified ninth out of 39 teams at the FIRST Robotics competition in Escanaba, March 16 to March 18. DeTour made it to the semifinals, but lost there. They also earned the Excellence in Engineering Award for their design of autonomous modes. DeTour finished the weekend ranked 98th in the state. Here, team member Jordan Bailey is demonstrating how the gears will slide down the chute. (Photograph provided by DeTour Schools) At left: DeTour Raiders Robotics qualified ninth out of 39 teams at the FIRST Robotics competition in Escanaba, March 16 to March 18. DeTour made it to the semifinals, but lost there. They also earned the Excellence in Engineering Award for their design of autonomous modes. DeTour finished the weekend ranked 98th in the state. Here, team member Jordan Bailey is demonstrating how the gears will slide down the chute. (Photograph provided by DeTour Schools) The Rudyard Nerf Herders competed in Gaylord and qualified 15th out of 40 teams with a 6-5-1 record. They competed in the playoffs, but lost in the first round. During the awards ceremony, they were awarded the Judges’ Award. During the course of competition, the judging panel may decide a team’s unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition. Rudyard uses a unique internal currency that they refer to as Robobucks, as a means for motivating team members, rewarding safety, and tracking individual contributions to team goals. Students earn Robobucks and can exchange them for rewards such as purchasing a ticket to the meet, Tshirts, or snacks. Students earn them by attending meetings, working on the robot, staying on-task with homework, securing sponsorships or conducting a fundraiser, or other tasks such as cleaning. The judges referred to the Robobucks when commenting on the reasons for the award. Rudyard will next compete at the Lake Superior State University event.


The Rudyard Nerf Herders competed in the FIRST robotics competition in Gaylord, Thursday, March 16, to Saturday, March 18. They qualified for the playoffs and earned a Judges Award, which is awarded to teams whose “unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition.” The team is pictured accepting their award. Team members pictured are: (nack row, from left) Autumn Beaudoin, Novi Price, Carlos Staten, Andy Garrison, mentor Gerald Ross, Coach Isiah Otten, Katrina Folkersma, Hannah Brood, Rebecca Brood; (middle row) Rebecca McClellan, Elizabeth King, Aubra Ross, Kaitlyn Folkersma, Nina Hough, Aaron Mills, Joshua Schrovenwever, Destiny Marra; (front row) John Folkersma, Sean Staricha, and Sophia Kowalski. (Photograph provided by Isiah Otten) The Rudyard Nerf Herders competed in the FIRST robotics competition in Gaylord, Thursday, March 16, to Saturday, March 18. They qualified for the playoffs and earned a Judges Award, which is awarded to teams whose “unique efforts, performance, or dynamics merit recognition.” The team is pictured accepting their award. Team members pictured are: (nack row, from left) Autumn Beaudoin, Novi Price, Carlos Staten, Andy Garrison, mentor Gerald Ross, Coach Isiah Otten, Katrina Folkersma, Hannah Brood, Rebecca Brood; (middle row) Rebecca McClellan, Elizabeth King, Aubra Ross, Kaitlyn Folkersma, Nina Hough, Aaron Mills, Joshua Schrovenwever, Destiny Marra; (front row) John Folkersma, Sean Staricha, and Sophia Kowalski. (Photograph provided by Isiah Otten) 
At left: Mackinac Island’s Great Lakers participated in their first robotics competition of the season March 16 through March 18 in Escanaba. They finished 26 out of 39 teams, and won the District Engineering Inspiration Award, given to teams who inspire engineering in their communities and push themselves to design and challenge themselves beyond just the competition at hand. They will compete next in Shepherd, April 6 to April 8. Pictured here are (from left) Julie Greenlee, Coach Gregg Neville, Talon Greenlee, Christian Styburski, Nick Davis, Alex Henlin, mentors Allen Burt and Tom Corrigan, Coach Susan Bennett, Deb Styburski, and mentor Dick Riel. (Photograph provided by Mackinac Island Public School) At left: Mackinac Island’s Great Lakers participated in their first robotics competition of the season March 16 through March 18 in Escanaba. They finished 26 out of 39 teams, and won the District Engineering Inspiration Award, given to teams who inspire engineering in their communities and push themselves to design and challenge themselves beyond just the competition at hand. They will compete next in Shepherd, April 6 to April 8. Pictured here are (from left) Julie Greenlee, Coach Gregg Neville, Talon Greenlee, Christian Styburski, Nick Davis, Alex Henlin, mentors Allen Burt and Tom Corrigan, Coach Susan Bennett, Deb Styburski, and mentor Dick Riel. (Photograph provided by Mackinac Island Public School) Sault Ste. Marie also competed in Escanaba, qualifying 11th with a 7- 4-1 record, losing in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

In addition to earning points for winning matches and accomplishing certain tasks within the game, teams can earn a variety of awards. Awards are given to recognize innovation, spirit, design, safety, and more. The Great Lakers of Mackinac Island won the District Engineering Inspiration Award, given to teams who “inspire engineering in their communities and push themselves to design and challenge themselves beyond just the competition at hand.” De- Tour was awarded the Excellence in Engineering Award for their design of autonomous modes.

Teams will now go to work making adjustments on their robots before their next competition, in hopes they can add to their point total and earn a spot at the state competition in Saginaw, April 12 through 15. Brimley, Cedarville, Pickford, Rudyard, and Sault Ste. Marie will be competing next at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday, March 30, to Saturday, April 1. Mackinac Island and St. Ignace will compete next in Shepherd, Thursday, April 6, to Saturday, April 8.

Editor’s note: No photographs were available from Les Cheneaux Community Schools.

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